5 Best Freelance Platforms To Launch Your Developer Career

Published June 8, 2020

Anyone who’s spent any amount of time looking for developer work online, has likely heard freelancing platforms both praised and condemned. And, like most things, there are bits of truth here and there. But to help you more accurately weigh your options, we’ve listed a few of the pros and cons of using a freelancing platform, followed by five of our favorite freelancing platforms for programmers.

5 Best Freelance Platforms To Launch Your Developer Career

Freelance websites for programmers: the pros

  • Easily make connections. This is easily the largest benefit to using a freelancing platform. The platform more or less handles the networking for you, which significantly expedites the process of landing your first few gigs. This is an immense benefit — especially if you’re not that business savvy.
  • Reliable payment structure. Every freelancer has at least a few horror stories of the big project that they never got paid for. Clients can easily disappear at any point during a project, leaving you with a half-finished job and nothing to show for it. But most freelancing sites have some sort of escrow structure in place to prevent this from happening.
  • Faster credibility. Additionally, freelancing websites are often set up to quickly provide you with credibility. Ratings, a professional-looking profile, the platform’s branding, and your displayed work history will help you rise in the freelancing ranks.

Freelance websites for programmers: the cons

  • Fees. On the flip side, we have the largest drawback of using a freelancing platform: the fees. Depending on which site you use, this can amount to hundreds of dollars a year.
  • Platform rules and requirements. Each freelance platform has its own rules and requirements, and at any time, you could find your account deleted as a result of a violation. A scary thing to consider if this platform is your career.
  • Limited growth. Lastly, because freelancing platforms make starting easier, they naturally attract unskilled individuals looking for a quick buck, as well as clients with a tight budget. The result is that after a few months to a year, you’ll more than likely outgrow the platform and need to figure out how to start marketing yourself independently.

The 5 best freelance platforms for developers

1. UpWork

UpWork is one of the largest freelancing platforms — and that’s both a good and bad thing. For one, UpWork isn’t developer-specific, so anyone looking for any kind of remote work can find their niche here.

Key features:

  • A secure, reliable escrow system that ensures you always get paid
  • Hourly and fixed-price contracts
  • A comprehensive freelancing site that leaves little to be desired, at least in the way of features

Who it’s best for:

  • UpWork is a solid option for the beginning developer with nothing to their name but practice and passion. As the name suggests, it’s the perfect place to start from the bottom and work your way up. For more experienced developers, however, UpWork can be a bit limited.

2. LocalSolo

LocalSolo is a location-based freelancing platform that matches clients with freelancers in their city of choice. The platform is much less saturated than UpWork, which tends to result in higher quality clients.

Key features:

  • All of the fees are placed on clients, so freelancers can get hired without having to pay anything
  • LocalSolo has limited involvement in your contracts, so you don’t have to worry about rules or platform-exclusive relationships

Who it’s best for:

  • LocalSolo is best for developers that have a reasonable amount of experience and are looking to find serious clients. The platform only takes new freelancers via application and clients are paying to use the platform, which ensures a level of quality that is lacking on most general freelancing boards.

3. Codeable

If you’re an experienced WordPress developer, then Codeable is likely the best freelancing platform for you. Like LocalSolo, every freelancer on the platform is vetted before joining. This, coupled with the fact that Codeable is a freelance site for web developers, means that freelancers can easily find high-quality clients on this platform.

Key features:

  • Codeable uses a pricing algorithm that determines the price for a client’s project. This means that instead of competing for the lowest bid, you only have to compete on your merit
  • Codeable is a trusted brand, and working through the platform will give you somewhat of a halo effect
  • $70/hr is the minimum rate

Who it’s best for:

  • Since Codeable uses a vetting process, you will need to have some initial projects under your belt. If you’ve worked with a few clients and left a positive impression, Codeable is a great next step.

4. Hireable

If you want the benefits of a freelancing platform without actually having to use a freelancing platform, then Hireable is for you. Rather bringing freelancer and client together on the site, Hireable curates jobs from cities around the world, making it easy for you to apply for and search through these positions.

Key features:

  • No need for an account, no platform restrictions or fees
  • Search by job title and location
  • Find in-person jobs, not just freelancing positions

Who it’s best for:

  • Hireable is great for those who want to avoid getting too caught up in the world of freelancing platforms. It connects you to potential employers without any involvement on the part of Hireable. If you are looking for a more traditional route into developing, Hireable is a great resource.

5. Gun.io

Gun.io is one of the most robust freelance websites for programmers and developers. It comes fully equipped with everything you, as a freelancer, need (high-quality clients, a secure payment structure, and excellent networking) as well as a solid, reputable brand that’s used by companies like Cisco and Amazon.

Key features:

  • Clients are vetted, so you won’t see job listings for one-off, low-paying roles
  • Fees are added to your rate, not subtracted from it, so service fees don’t come out of your pocket

Who it’s best for:

  • Gun.io is best for developers who have cut their teeth on platforms like UpWork and Fiverr and are ready to start finding serious clients. It’s more difficult to be accepted as a freelancer for Gun.io, but this also ensures that you’ll be working for the best rates and the best clients.